The Ministry of Information Industry, Ministry of Finance and the State Development and Reform Commission have issued a joint statement implementing a new fee on all telephone numbers in China.

Telecommunications operators, rather than users, will be responsible for paying the fees. Each phone number is to be charged CNY0.01per month, and the twelve western provinces will be charged at half that rate. The western provinces get a discount because the central government hopes to foster telecommunications growth in the region.

Special emergency and public numbers like 110, 119 and 12315 are exempt from the fees.

There has been no definite timeline for when this is to be initiated, but local media report that the fees should start this month.

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